Cyril C. NwokejiSaturday, May 14, 2016




ours sincerely joins millions of fans and well wishers of the Super Eagles' mid-field 'generalissimo' and skipper: John Mikel Obi, in wishing him a very happy twenty-ninth birthday anniversary and many more fruitful years on this planet!

Skipper John Mikel Obi is a player that fascinated and still fascinates yours sincerely; right from his early soccer days with the Junior national teams, till this day. A highly talented player who had the rare distinction of having represented Nigeria, at the: under - 17; under-20 and senior world cup tournaments! John Mikel Obi's talent was, more especially, noticed by international soccer observers, at the 2005 under - 20 world cup tournament, in the Netherlands. He was voted the second best player of that tournament, after the genial Lionel Messi! This was after he had helped pilot the wonderful Flying Eagles of Nigeria, to the final of the same tournament. John Mikel Obi's soccer career was given a vote of confidence, after that tournament. And ever since, his soccer career has grown in leaps and bounds. A tussle between Manchester United and Chelsea football clubs, for this young man's signature, further buttressed the point, about his immense talent.

At Chelsea football club he immediately got a first team place, at nineteen, among some of the greatest soccer players on this planet! John Mikel Obi's soccer career has since blossomed at Chelsea, under different world class coaches: a further attestation, to his immense talent.

Critics have complained about what they term: the "killing" of his creative talent as a mid-fielder, as a consequence of his conversion to a defensive mid-field role, by Coach Jose Mourinho. Yours sincerely, disagrees. In modern football, a player, is supposed to be complete and not one-sided! A modern mid-fielder should be able to be creative, when his team is on the offensive and defensive, when his team is on the defensive. On the contrary, meethinks John Mikel Obi's Chelsea experience, has made him, the modern and complete mid-field player!

Another critical point about John Mikel Obi, is his low scoring ability. Meethinks this 'weakness,' is more than compensated, by his uncanny ability to set up others to make hay. At the 2013 Nations' cup tournament, he wasn't on the score sheet, but was involved in virtually all the goals scored by Nigeria! African nations have noticed the usefulness of John Mikel Obi, for the Super Eagles of Nigeria. As a consequence, some of them have adopted the attitude of:" Hold -John- Mikel- Obi and thus hold- the- Super Eagles- of- Nigeria;" in their tactical organization, when confronting the Super Eagles of Nigeria! Little surprising, the Pharaohs of Egypt, in their last match-up with Nigeria, adopted this 'philosophy,' and tried in the two matches against Nigeria, to disrupt John Mikel Obi's mobility in mid-field!

Initially, his patriotic fervor, was called to question, no thanks to what was perceived as his rather luke warm attitude to the senior national team's affairs. This was further buttressed by the apparent 'neglect,' of John Mikel Obi, by an apparently furious former national team coach, who felt, he didn't do enough for the Super Eagles of Nigeria. John Mikel Obi's reaction at the 2013 Nations' cup tournament, was spectacular; as he helped master-mind Nigeria's victory, and was further rewarded with a place in the team of the tournament!

Another interesting point about John Mikel Obi's career, is his playing style. John Mikel Obi, is not a mid-fielder, in the mould of the legendary and mercurial, Austin" Jay Jay" Okocha. To the not- too- critical observer, he may appear ineffective, because of his playing style, which yours sincerely terms: "economical," or" straight to the point." In other words, John Mikel Obi, doesn't dissipate energy in flowery displays on the field of play; but rather is business- like and plays strictly to the coach's instructions and is very effective! Little wonder he is the favourite of the world class coaches that have coached him, at Chelsea. John Mikel Obi's rather "economical" playing style, coupled with his polyvalency, in mid-field, marks him out, as a mid-fielder of the twenty-first century!

At the rather twilight of his playing career for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, he has been justly rewarded with the captaincy of this great team! An act yours sincerely, considers a deserved honour for a great player, who has sacrificed so much for his father land, in the round leather game; and in the process, brought immense joy to millions of his country men and women, through a game they love so much and cherish and which unites them.

In conclusion, as the Super Eagles begin yet another rebuilding process, Skipper John Mikel Obi, with his enormous talent and wealth of experience, is certainly one personality, who would be expected to play a big role in this process. The Super Eagles are down for now, but certainly not out; yours sincerely, fervently, believes in the Super Eagles' "renaissance;" and when that happens, I have no doubt in my mind that John Mikel Obi would certainly play a big role in it!

Here is wishing the young man, a very happy birthday and some more years of meritorious services to the Super Eagles of Nigeria!